Last week, ransomware storm tide rises for companies around the world, unsecured databases spell trouble, and cryptocurrency scams affect thousands.
Dept of Ed Leaves Social Security Numbers Unsecured
United States – Department of Education
Exploit: Unsecured Database
United States Department of Education: Federal Government Agency
Risk to Small Business: 2.077 = Severe
A large number of Americans may have had their personally identifiable data compromised by the United States Department of Education. According to reports, the agency left the Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of people seeking student debt relief unprotected and susceptible to a data breach for at least six months. While the information was stored securely enough to prevent an external breach, any users of the agency’s systems could freely access the information in a simple shared folder, including outside contractors.
Individual Risk: 2.316 = Severe
The breached information was collected from complaints filing for student debt relief after paying for years of education of dubious value from for-profit colleges. Personally identifiable information, including Social Security numbers, was not secured correctly. The information was easily obtained by anyone with access to agency or contractor systems. Those who suspect that they may be at risk should watch their credit reports and be on alert for spear phishing attacks.
Customers Impacted: 240,000
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Failure to secure a customer’s information briefly is bad enough but allowing that information to stay unsecured for more than 6 months shows indicates an overall lack of concern regarding cybersecurity that may make future clients think twice about starting a business relationship.
Healthcare Takes Another Hit in Exposing Private Data
United States – Healthcare Fiscal Management
Healthcare Fiscal Management: Payment Solutions Provider
Risk to Small Business: 2.429 = Severe
Maze ransomware has claimed another victim. Healthcare Fiscal Management in North Carolina was hit, exposing private data for thousands of patients of St. Mary’s Healthcare System in Georgia, including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, account numbers, medical record numbers, and dates of service. The company was able to restore data from backup storage the same day to a different hosting provider and a forensic investigation firm was brought on board to investigate the breach.
Individual Risk: 2.393 = Severe
Investigators do not believe that any of the stolen data is available on the internet or currently in the hands of the attackers, but that can’t be confirmed. Customers of St. Mary’s Healthcare System who suspect that they may be affected should monitor their credit reports for identity theft attempts. This information could also be used for blackmail or spear-phishing attempts.
Customers Impacted: 58,000
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Ransomware is an ongoing threat to every business, and it’s primarily delivered via phishing. Failure to stop a ransomware attack can not only cost a fortune in recovery, it can also incur huge fines from regulators. Companies that deal with particularly sensitive data should have constantly updated training in place for every user to prevent phishing attacks from landing.
Personal Information Unsecured At Employment Firm
United States – CNY Works
CNY Works: Employment Assistance Non-Profit
Risk to Small Business: 1.803 = Severe
Job seekers who used CNY Works as part of their search were recently informed that their personal information may have been compromised in a data breach caused by ransomware in December 2019. The agency noted that it had only begun notifying potentially affected clients in June 2020 because it did not discover that any personal information was affected until May 2020.
Individual Risk: 2.227 = Severe
Personally identifiable data including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and Social Security numbers were compromised. CNY Works is offering all potentially affected clients a one-year membership in a service that helps prevent identity theft by detecting possible misuse of personal information.
Customers Impacted: 56,000
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: By taking so long to investigate the incident and warn potential victims, CNY Works has left them at risk for identity theft. Data that enables identity theft is a valuable commodity in Dark Web markets and travels quickly, enabling bad actors to open credit accounts with the stolen information.
Unsecured Amazon S3 Bucket Causes Data Breach
United States – V Shred
Exploit: Unsecured Database
V Shred: Fitness and Nutrition Brand
Risk to Small Business: 1.345 = Extreme
An unsecured Amazon S3 bucket is once again the cause of a data breach. This time, fitness and nutrition company V Shred failed to secure 606 GB of customer data that is now in the hands of cybercriminals. The huge haul of information includes the full name, age, gender, date of birth, spouse names, email address, phone numbers, home addresses, health conditions, citizenship status, Social Security number, social media accounts, username, and password for clients and fitness trainers throughout the US. It’s also suspected that potentially revealing fitness journey “before” and “after” photos were included in the files.
Risk to Small Business: 1.341 = Extreme
All U.S. clients and trainers who were associated with V Shred should be cautious about potential threats to their credit as well as blackmail, identity theft, and spear phishing attempts using the stolen data, and conclude that any personally identifiable information that was stored by the company has now been exposed.
Customers Impacted: 100,000+
How it Could Affect Your Customers’ Business: Failure to secure this database could be catastrophic for this company. It entered an agreement with trainers and clients when it collected such personal information, and it failed to keep up its end, creating distrust that will linger. This information has already been seen on the Dark Web and includes extremely sensitive data.
1 - 1.5 = Extreme Risk
1.51 - 2.49 = Severe Risk
2.5 - 3 = Moderate Risk
*The risk score is calculated using a formula that considers a wide range of factors related to the assessed breach.
In Other News:
Cryptocurrency Scam Raises Business Breach Risks After It Hits Thousands of Victims Worldwide
Cryptocurrency has been revolutionary in creating a new world economy, and it’s the primary vehicle for transactions on the Dark Web. After lots of splashy coverage in mainstream news organizations around the world, the fascination for it has spread from Dark Web markets to average internet users – making them the perfect targets for cybercriminals.
In a recent scam, cybercriminals were able to pull off a multi-stage operation that exposed the personal data of thousands of users worldwide including 147,610 victims in the UK, 82,263 Australians, 4,149 South Africans, 4,147 people in the US, 3,499 folks in Singapore, 2,491 Malaysians and 2,420 people in Spain, and other countries.
The data was obtained through an interesting style of a phishing scam. Users were lured in by an SMS message “starring” a locally famous celebrity (in this case a local journalist) who had “built a fortune” through cryptocurrency trading. Victims who clicked the link were then directed to a unique landing page that had an article quoting a local news personality that dovetailed believably to their region. Each unique SMS link also contained some personal information for the target.
When the target clicked anything on the fake article landing page, they were then directed to a bitcoin investment platform, where the personal information that had been carried through the process in their unique link was then automatically filled in – and they were asked for their balances in other bitcoin accounts, which were now accessible to the thieves.
As scams that are hatched through SMS and messaging applications become more common, they can also become an unexpected threat to businesses. Staffers frequently handle personal correspondence on their work devices, especially as more companies employ a “Bring Your Own Device” policy. Interacting with scam messages like these can give cybercriminals an opening to strike. Staffers need to understand that phishing isn’t just an email problem – it’s a problem everywhere.
Updated phishing training with a dynamic solution like BullPhish ID gets everyone up to speed on potential types of phishing, with easy to understand lessons about common attacks served in bite-sized pieces and delivered through engaging videos to keep lessons memorable, plus online quizzes to test retention. BullPhish ID offers plug-and-play training content in 8 languages, bolstering a business’s cybersecurity by strengthening its best defense against phishing – their employees.
A Note From Kobargo
The Ransomware Tide is Rising Worldwide
No industry is immune to ransomware attacks. Just last week, hackers attempted to breach more than 30 news sites owned by a major US media company in an audacious attempt to deploy WastedLocker ransomware. The hacking gang, known as Evil Corp, was attempting to use this method to infect the systems of employees of over 30 major US private firms using fake software update alerts that popped up after the targeted employees browsed news at the affected news sites.
It’s common for employees to access non-work websites from their work machines during the workday. Everyone checks a few headlines or looks up the weather. In this case, the employees’ computers were set up to be used as a stepping point into their companies’ networks. There hasn’t been any reported further action, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a successful compromise at one of the targeted firms.
By 2021, it’s estimated that a ransomware attack will take place every 11 seconds. So, what’s the most common way that ransomware is delivered? Phishing. Whether it’s a malicious link, a spurious PDF, a poisoned SMS, or the old classic infected attachment, ransomware is the threat that really keeps IT staffers up at night.
A phishing resistance training and testing solution that is consistently updated with the latest threats can help companies effectively defend against ransomware attacks by improving their defense against phishing. BullPhish ID delivers, with easy to understand, engaging training campaigns including video components that clearly explains today’s threats. The simple set-up, grouping, and deployment tools allow you to manage campaigns any way you need to get every staffer enlisted in the effort to guard against ransomware.